03/22/2019

News

More errors at the DMV: Thousands of customers can’t get licenses after paying early

Bogged down by long customer wait times, California’s Department of Motor last fall tried to ease the pressure in its offices by sending license renewal notices much earlier than usual. It backfired. The DMV sent renewal notices to Californians 120 to 150 days before their licenses were scheduled to expire. But the department’s technology could […]

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Hot air balloons took off from California veterans home without state noticing, audit finds

A Napa Valley veterans home once criticized for building an adventure park on its grounds has been allowing a golf course to offer hot air balloon rides for years without a lease permitting the rides, according to a state auditor’s report released Tuesday. The report draws attention to a mix of leases that the California […]

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See how far union membership has declined in California

Fewer than 15 percent of California workers were members of a union in 2018, the lowest union membership rate in at least 35 years, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 14.7 percent of the state’s workers belong to a union in 2018, down from 15.5 percent in 2017. The […]

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PG&E calls bankruptcy ‘only viable option’ in California wildfire crisis

Overwhelmed by billions of dollars in claims from the Camp Fire and the 2017 wildfires of Northern California, PG&E said Monday it plans to file for bankruptcy, but insisted it will not go out of business. The embattled utility gave 15-day notice of its intent to file for protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy […]

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Gavin Newsom’s first budget: Down payments made, but supporters still want more

More state-funded health care for undocumented immigrants. Nearly $2 billion for early childhood programs. Millions of dollars to spur housing construction. In his first week as California governor, Gavin Newsom promised something for nearly every key interest group that backed his campaign. He outlined new spending and policies on a wide array of issues in […]

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The economy is booming. Why are so many California schools broke?

Facing a $36 million deficit and a possible state takeover, the top budget officer at the Sacramento City Unified School District has a sober message for his counterparts around California. Sacramento is “just one of the first dominoes,” said John Quinto, the district’s chief business officer. By any measure, Sacramento City’s distress is worse than […]

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California cedes water to feds in Delta deal with Trump

Southern Californians could lose billions of gallons of water a year to Central Valley farmers under a deal Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has struck with water officials working for President Donald Trump. There’s no guarantee the agreement with Trump will accomplish what Brown’s team is seeking: a lasting compromise on environmental regulations that could stave […]

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If California’s economy favors the educated, why do the poor earn fewer degrees?

Possessing a college degree in California is more valuable than ever. It often indicates whether someone has a stable job and if their employer offers paid vacation or health benefits. For many, the degree is the difference between poverty and the middle class. And its value, since at least 2000, has only increased year after […]

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Jerry Brown predicts ‘fiscal oblivion’ if pensions are off limits for government employers

Gov. Jerry Brown warned this week that public agencies in California are on a track to “fiscal oblivion” if they’re barred from adjusting retirement benefits for their employees. He issued the warning in an interview with The Sacramento Bee three weeks after his attorneys defended his 2012 pension law at the California Supreme Court against […]

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California unemployment rate holds steady at 4.1 percent

California’s unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent in November. The state Employment Development Department said Friday that employers added 30,700 nonfarm payroll jobs last month. Nine industry sectors added jobs while two reported job losses. California’s unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in November 2017.

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Sac City Unified school district says it will be broke in November 2019

The Sacramento City Unified School District announced Wednesday it expects to run out of cash by November 2019 after months of financial crisis. In a statement sent to the community, the district said unless major savings are found, it will be unable to pay employees and make necessary purchases. The statement suggested that moving forward […]

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California shifts water from farms, cities to fish. But a Jerry Brown compromise plan isn’t dead

Despite an epic last-minute compromise brokered by Gov. Jerry Brown, state water regulators voted Wednesday to reallocate billions of gallons of San Joaquin River water from farms and cities to revive struggling fish populations. After hours of testimony, the State Water Resources Control board voted to deliver hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water from […]

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Housing in the Central Valley is changing. But not necessarily for the better.

The Central Valley is slowly becoming a society of renters. New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show that many counties have seen double-digit growth in renter-occupied households and only modest gains in homeownership — if not single-digit declines since 2011. In the period between 2011 and 2017, the number of owner-occupied homes in the […]

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California moves to raise sales tax collections from out-of-state retailers

Shoppers looking for a bargain by skipping California sales tax will soon close a loophole that let them buy goods from out-of-state online retailers without immediately paying local taxes. That deal ends on April 1 for thousands of out-of-state online retailers that will be required to collect California sales tax for the first time, according […]

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Free community college could soon be a reality in California

Californians could soon get two years of community college for free, enough to earn an associate’s degree. In 2017, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the California College Promise, waiving the first year of community college tuition for full-time students. Assembly Bill 2, announced Tuesday, would add a second year to that program. “When […]

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